New Whitewater Center being built in Chester County


CHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE)- The U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte is a popular spot, and now, there are plans to build another whitewater course just south of the Queen City.

Right now, the area along the Catawba River in Chester County is pretty empty, but that could all change soon.

Duke Energy has plans to build a new whitewater course along the river. It’s part of the company’s license and renewal of the hydro dam for Duke Energy and it could be a big boost for the area.

In about a year and a half, the river will have people in canoes and kayaks racing down the waters. 

That’s after Duke finishes the Great Falls-Dearborn development, its new multi-million-dollar project.

“It’s the creation of a new whitewater course that will have both a long and a short run, as well as the creation of a new state part in Dearborn Island. Part of this will create a bridge to Dearborn Island,” said Robert Long, the Director of Chester County Economic Development.

Long says Duke Energy broke ground in the fall and expects to be done by August 2022.

“We think it’s going to a fantastic draw for the community, help us grow tourism in Chester County and the region around us,” Long said.

So how much is it going to cost taxpayers?

“It’s actually costing the county zero. Everything is being funded by Duke.”

And it will be easily accessible.

“You have the community of Great Falls, this is actually Dearborn Island and so it’ll be based right in this area right here in the very bottom,” Long said. “Basically the furthest southeast corner of the county, right on the Catawba River.”

Long says the plan is to divert the water during the summer months to make it happen.

“They will basically divert the water for the weekends, roughly Memorial through Labor Day, so they’ll have a season for the whitewater that they will basically use these diversion dams and open it up for the community to take advantage of it and access it as a resource.”

Long says outdoor tourism is very important to the folks in Chester County. The county already has two state parks. After this, it will be one of the only counties in South Carolina to have three state parks.

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